AUSTIN (KXAN) – A group of tenants at Pease Parkside Apartments on West Campus have no gas, heat or hot water and say it’s been that way for more than a month.
One resident, Ashley Kressin, said she is having to use a tea kettle to fill her bathtub with hot water. It became the norm for her after the gas went out in late December, around the same time she tested positive for COVID-19.
“It’s December, I can’t leave my apartment and I don’t have hot water or the ability to cook because we don’t have gas ranges and I don’t have heat,” Kressin explained.
She said over the next few weeks management gave tenants in her building a $400 credit, Uber reimbursement, portable stove tops and a space heater.
“Last week they got us a gym membership [to take hot showers at], which is too little too late, because it’s been four weeks already,” Kressin said.
According to ONE Gas, which provides natural gas distribution services through Texas Gas Service, gas at the property was shut off Dec. 19 after the company received a call to investigate an outside odor.
“The customer-owned piping could not pass a shut-in test per required standards and had to be turned off. They are required to complete work on their side and pass a City Code inspection before we can test and turn the gas back on,” a ONE Gas spokesperson explained in an emailed statement. “On December 22, we tried to turn the property back but they still didn’t pass inspection. We have communicated this to the customer.”
Pease Parkside management tells KXAN it’s one of four buildings on the property that has no gas. Crews found 10 leaks in that building. They say they had to wait two weeks for a permit to start working. KXAN is still trying to learn why it took two weeks to get a permit.
The health, safety and well being of our residents remains our top priority. After attempting to make repairs to the old system, we are now replacing the entire gas line with a new pipe. During this time, we have offered space heaters, a gym membership at Castle Hill Fitness for access to hot showers, portable electric stove burners and a $400 rent concession to each of the residents to help them through this challenge.Pease Parkside Management
PhD student, Ben Allison, is having to live somewhere else while the issues get resolved.
“For me, someone who has put a lot of time and effort into arranging his space so he can work effectively and not being able to be in that space and use the monitor and standing desk I have, that’s a real problem for me,” Allison explained.
Tenants tells us they have received updates from apartment management, but they have not received a definite timeline on when the work will be completed.
“When I tried to communicate with them, asking them ‘is there a possibility for a mutual release from this lease agreement,’ they indicated that was not the case,” Allison said. “Really the only option we would have is the early termination clause in our lease which would involve us paying two months of rent, plus an additional $2,400 fine, per the lease.”
The management tells KXAN the latest estimate is 5-7 days to install the new system. They say materials are readily available, so crews will be able to start very shortly.